Suu Kyi Wants Dam Project Halted

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NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, Aug. 12 (UPI) — Political activist Aung San Suu Kyi has appealed to the Myanmar and Chinese governments to stop construction on a major dam on the Irrawaddy River.

Suu Kyi, 64, said the Myitsone Dam would destroy natural habitat on the 1,300-mile-long river that enters Myanmar from China and exits into the Andaman Sea, the Democratic Voice of Burma reported Friday.

Most of the electricity generated by the dam, which would be the 15th largest dam in the world, would be used by China, its primary financier, the report said.

Suu Kyi said the dam would displace 15,000 people and have implications the length of Myanmar (formerly Burma). The dam is scheduled for completion in 2017 and would generate up to 6,000 megawatts of power.

The Irrawaddy River is “the most significant geographical feature of our country,” Suu Kyi said in a letter calling for an end to the project.

The Burma Rivers Network last month published a synopsis of a 2009 internal report by the China Power Investment Corp., the company behind the Myitsone Dam. It called for the dam to be scrapped, saying it was unnecessary and the damage it will cause will be too costly.

In another matter, Suu Kyi, longtime opposition leader in Myanmar, was scheduled to have a second round of talks with an official its army-backed civilian government. The BBC said a meeting last month raised the possibility of political dialogue between the government and pro-democracy groups.

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